How do I know if I need bio-identical hormones?

A great place to start is by asking yourself how you are feeling.  Try taking the hormone balance quiz.  If you answer yes to many of the questions you may benefit from a bio-identical hormone therapy program or learning what and how to include specific supplements to your daily nutrition for optimal health.  There are many providers available near you that can help educate you on what is going on inside your body and why you may be feeling less than normal. 

How do I find a provider that specializes in Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy?

Looking for a hormone specialist can be tricky.  Not every provider has the confidence to work with every individual's unique body build to create a customized dosing plan.  An endocrinologist is a doctor the does specialize with the chemical messengers, aka. hormones, of our body.  Typically, an endocrinologist's primary goal is to get hormone levels back in normal range.  Read reviews online.  Ask your primary doctor for a referral.  Ask for a preliminary consultation.  See if you can ask basic questions over the phone.  Remember, you can always find a new provider if the one you are seeing doesn't 'feel right' with you.  The key to success is finding a provider you can establish a long term relationship with.  As you age, and as life changes, you are your provider will stay in tune with changes in your body and make adjustments along the way and as needed. 

my lab results say that everything is normal.  What can I do?

This question gets asked a lot!  Lab results in normal range mean that, on average, most individuals in your age range have a similar level of the reading on the test.  It doesn't mean that you are crazy or making up the fact that you aren't feeling yourself.  Often, with bio-identical hormone balance, we are looking to achieve optimal results and not just normal.  There are things you can do to feel good again.  A provider who aims to achieve optimal results will be looking for optimal hormone levels as well as, optimal thyroid function, supplements and dietary suggestions.  Each of these components work together to help treat the whole individual and not just one lab test result. 

What do I need to do to get started?

A great way to prepare yourself for hormone balance or optimization is to take a hormone balance quiz, like the one on our site, here.  There are other resources to research that can help you learn more about hormone balance.  You local pharmacist may have information or research a compounding pharmacy.  You can also research the different methods of bio-idencitcal hormone therapy. There are creams, patches, synthetic injections, prescription pills, and hormone pellets. They each work differently and can have different results.  At Aviva Woman, we like using bio-identical hormone pellets.  You can read about that here.

What questions should I ask at my first visit?

First, make sure they are asking you a very important question.  How are YOU feeling?  Its about listening to you and what you are experiencing that will help give you the treatment you are needing.  Ask the provider if they can help with hormone optimization.  What method of bio-identical hormone therapy is the provider comfortable using?  How much does the program cost?  What labs are needed to get started?  Are there any restrictions?  Am I a candidate?  What are the side effects?  How long will I be using these for?  What changes in my life do I need to make to ensure a greater chance of success?

What lab work should be ordered so we get a good idea of what is going on with my body?

At our clinic we do a fairly comprehensive panel of blood work. There are a lot of questions that get asked about the lab or blood work.  For both men and women will order a lipid panel, Vitamin B, Vitamin D-25 hydroxy, CMP CBC.  We will also check a thyroid panel to include a TSH, T4 total, T3 Free, and TPO.  Additionally, for women we will order the estradiol, testosterone total, and FSH. For men we will order the estradiol, testosterone free & total,  and a PSA for men ages between 55-69.  

Do I need to come in for a consultation?

At our office we are happy to accommodate an in-office visit or an initial consultation over the phone.  Usually, individuals like being able to save an office visit and talk over the phone.  During the phone consultation, we explain how our office runs, what to do to get started, how much the program costs, and how to get started on the needed blood work.  We will talk about the paperwork that can be filled out prior to the office visit and discuss how and where to get blood work completed.  Then we order the labs, send the order to a Quest Diagnostics, and email a copy to the individual who will go to a Quest lab nearest them to complete the order. 

AFter I get my blood work done, what do i do next?

Once you get your blood has been drawn it can take up to 10 days for all the results to get back.  After our office receives the results we call you to set up a hormone evaluation visit, which is held at our office.

What happens during a hormone evaluation visit?

This visit can last about 45-55 minutes depending on your concerns and the questions you have.  Our provider spends a great deal of time listening to you and educating you on the results.  You will learn about what your present base line is, areas that can be improved, and receive suggestions on a hormone therapy program, thyroid support, and supplements and dietary options all geared toward optimal health and wellbeing specific to your body and needs.  This is a no pressure visit. We want you to be educated on YOU.  If you would like to proceed with therapy suggestions that day we are happy to proceed with the recommended treatment. If not, no worries!  At the very least, we aim to help you walk out the door with a greater understanding of your body and empower you to make educated health decisions that are best for you. 

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